New Honda technology lets Amazon deliver packages right to your car

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ByDave Kunz via KABC logo
Saturday, July 27, 2019
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Concerned about those "porch pirates" making off with your Amazon home deliveries when you're not there? How about a much more secure drop point like your car?

Concerned about those porch pirates making off with your Amazon home deliveries when you're not there? How about a much more secure drop point like your car?

"We enable an Amazon driver to access your car, and leave the package. It basically makes your car into a mobile locker," said Daniel Tiet, a senior product planner with American Honda Motor Co. in Torrance.

Honda has combined their HondaLink connected car app with Key by Amazon, giving delivery drivers limited access to your car.

"They cannot start the engine. And they only have access to the car for a two-hour window for delivery," said Tiet.

The service is available in most late-model Honda vehicles which have the HondaLink system. Some Acura models are debuting it this year, too.

Here's how it works: When you're placing your Amazon Prime order, you select your registered Honda as the delivery location.

You give an approximate location of the car, and the Amazon driver is given that information, along with a description of it. It just has to be in an accessible place, like a street, a non-restricted parking lot, or even your own driveway. The HondaLink app tracks the car's location, and just needs to be parked within a "geo-fenced" area of approximately 200 meters. So if you move your car from one side of the street to another, or into another spot in a parking lot, there's no problem.

Upon arrival, the Amazon driver is able pop the trunk or hatch, leave the package, then lock the vehicle. You're notified of every step in the app.

When Amazon first announced their Key program, it was to allow their delivery people to leave packages inside your home, as a more secure location than the front porch. A lot of people were a little uneasy about that idea, but maybe they'd feel a little more comfortable with a driver being able to secure a package in their car instead.

General Motors is also connecting with Amazon Key on some later models, using their OnStar system. As with OnStar, there is a yearly fee for HondaLink, currently $110.

I gave it a try, ordering some dog treats from Amazon and had them delivered to a 2019 Passport with HondaLink that Honda had set up for the story. (There are some restrictions on what can be delivered to a vehicle. For example, perishable items generally don't qualify.)

The Key by Amazon app alerts you with notifications of the approximate delivery time, when the driver is nearby, and when the package had been delivered.

Every step of the process was there for me to see. When I later approached the Honda Passport, I confirmed that it was indeed locked. I then opened the rear hatch, and there was the padded Amazon envelope, with the dog treats inside. The Amazon driver had even placed it with the address label up, and facing outward. Very professional.

This is just one example of how modern cars can be linked to our busy lives these days. Fiat-Chrysler has a new in-car app available called Unconnect Market. With it, you can order a pizza from Domino's, pay for your gas at Shell, make restaurant reservations via Yelp, and so on. GM has a similar app called Marketplace on its late-model vehicles.

All new ways to make your car work for you.

"With connected cars, we can make your life a lot more convenient, and a lot more easy," said Tiet.

But don't worry if you prefer the old fashioned way. This high-tech connectivity is all optional.